Indiana Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann and her delegation returned from their trade mission to Japan, Korea, and Taiwan over the weekend. This was Ellspermann’s first ag trade mission as Lt. Governor and, according to ISDA director Ted McKinney, she made a very positive impression, “I heard quotes like ‘She is rock star,’ ‘She is very well spoken and well informed,’ and these kinds of things were said in all 3 countries we visited.” He added the delegation worked and traveled well together and, in addition to a heavy work schedule, had a lot of fun.
McKinney said the team returned with several signed agreements but, more importantly, new information that may lead to more business opportunity for Indiana agriculture, “There is definitely a hunger for Indiana- branded products. For me that was the real aha moment.” While there are many Indiana ag companies that are involved in the world market, McKinney feels more can be done to get other companies involved, “We need to double down our efforts to demystify this process so more Indiana companies can take advantage of the export market. There is definitely market opportunity here.” He said Indiana has a very good reputation in Asia, not only as a producer of corn and soybeans, but also for pork, duck, dairy, and hardwoods.
McKinney told HAT that the issue of biotechnology was discussed in their meetings and that he is optimistic that progress will be made on getting approval to ship more biotech products into the Asian market, “We learned that, just as we face consumer concerns in the US, in Asia there is a small but vocal segment that is opposed to biotechnology.” He feel most Asian leaders are not really concerned about the safety of biotechnology and that, in time, there will be approval of these products and traits.
Coverage made possible by Farm Credit of Mid-America.